Animal Welfare Approved

For Black Farmers, Justice Has Been an Empty Promise

NBFA Rally web Empty PromisesJohn Boyd, Jr., President of the National Black Farmers Association, is now more than ten years into his fight to see justice done for the farmers he represents. Boyd—who once had his loan application torn up in front of him by a USDA agent who later admitted he thought blacks “were lazy”—has been instrumental in compelling the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to own to up to decades of obvious discrimination against black farmers. This year, it appeared he was finally going to meet his goal. In February, the Department of Justice and the USDA announced a settlement with the black farmers, with the money to be allocated by Congress by March 31, 2010. It didn’t happen.

Instead, according to a CNN profile, Boyd found himself going to the funeral of another elderly black farmer who never received the money due him. According to CNN, Boyd, speaking at the farmer’s memorial service, said, “It really hurts to be here and have to deliver a message at Mr. Bonner’s going home services that Congress failed to act.”

The National Black Farmer’s Association has been supported in its quest by Animal Welfare Approved.  The farmers affected by the suit will face another farming season without the money owed to them by the U.S. According to Boyd, the discrimination of the past lingers today; the average subsidy to the top 10 percent of farms is over $1 million per farmer. The average subsidy to a black farmer is $200 and very few black farmers participate in the USDA subsidy or loan system.

Being a small farmer is a difficult job in the best of times, but when you are a small farmer going up against an entrenched system designed to reward a privileged few, it’s can be disheartening. But the black farmers are fighting on—both on and off the farm. “We didn’t survive because we were bad farmers, we survived because we were good farmers,” Boyd told CNN.

3 thoughts on “For Black Farmers, Justice Has Been an Empty Promise

  1. This makes me heartsick. Justice delayed is Justice denied. We should be in the business of supporting our small family farms and these farmers can’t enjoy the same subsidies allotted to the Senators who own “ranches” etc.?

  2. Luna says:

    As a black woman whose father was raised on a farm, I don’t understand this. How can someone tear up your application based on a ridiculous prejudice and be allowed to get away with that?

    I think it is shameful that in America, a melting pot and land of the free black people are still struggling on so much on so many levels.

    Was the Civil Rights movement that so mnay people died for a joke? Black farmers who are working hard deserve better than a subsidy of $0-$200. Why the hell give it all to Big Ag?

    I simply don’t get it.

  3. Byron Hakin says:

    It is a travesty the way black farmers are treated by the U.S. Government. What is needed is for black farmers to find a remedy via commerce. There is a process known as the Redemption Process where black farmers can protect their land and assets from foreclosure and discharge their debts. Then they can file a claim against the government for the injury and damages caused. This process has nothing to do with the Courts or Attorneys which has not benefited the farmers to this point.

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